MIDDLETON, Wis. – Illinois law enforcement shared new details Wednesday of the Highland Park shooting suspect’s trip to the Madison area.
Authorities say suspect Robert Crimo confessed to police that he traveled to Madison where he saw another holiday celebration and also considered attacking people there. The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force said the FBI recovered Crimo’s cellphone in Middleton, a suburb near Madison.
The owner of a body shop on University Ave. tells TMJ4 News that the FBI showed up there Tuesday morning to search the property. Jim Lund says they found the cell phone buried in a pile of dirt at the end of his parking lot.
“I kept asking myself, why here?” said Lund. “Why Middleton? Why on my property?
Lund said he was off on Monday to enjoy Independence Day. He returned to his auto shop the next day to find federal investigators linking his property to the Highland Park shooting suspect.
“They needed my permission to search my property around the building,” he said.
Lund says the nearby business had FBI officials at their office Monday night searching for Crimo’s cellphone. He says it took them several hours to find him hiding in the ground on Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s where he buried the phone and it’s not my (fake) goose and it says where they found it,” Lund said.
The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force said Crimo confessed to police that when he traveled to Madison, he attended a July 4 celebration and thought about carrying out a second attack.
Deputy Chief and PIO Christopher Covelli said Crimo had a gun and about 60 rounds in his car at the time.
“We don’t have any information to suggest he was planning to travel to Madison initially to carry out another attack,” Covelli said. “We believe he was driving after the first attack and saw the celebration.”
There were several Fourth of July parties and events planned for Monday in Madison and the suburbs, but authorities say they don’t know at this time which Crimo was planning to attack.
Covelli shared what authorities learned about why Crimo decided not to shoot a second time.
“It seems there hasn’t been enough thought and research into it,” he said.
Authorities say they cannot say why Crimo left the Madison area and returned to Illinois where he was arrested Monday. Covelli says the FBI knew he had given up his phone thanks to the help of evidence techs in Madison.
Back at the auto shop where the phone was recovered, Lund says it’s chilling to think his community could have been grieving too.
“It’s still amazing that he’s here and the potential is there and it makes you very nervous knowing someone is safe anywhere?” said Lund.
Authorities say the FBI is now going through that cell phone to search for evidence that could be used to further bolster the state’s case against Crimo.
Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip